A COMMUNITY is up in arms after an antique brass till with enormous sentimental value was stolen from a historic pie and mash shop.
The till had been sitting pride of place behind the counter in L Manze eel, pie and shop on Walthamstow High Street since it opened in 1929.
But on Wednesday (March 29), callous thieves waited until the Grade II-listed shop closed for the evening before breaking in and stealing the ornate till.
Shop manager at L Manze’s said the till would not be worth more than a few hundred pounds but its “nostalgic” importance is invaluable.
He said: “It’s been here since we began, it was a part of the shop.
The ornate till was nearing its 90th birthday
“It’s not nice, it’s been sat there all this time and a couple of years ago they stole all the brass off the front of the shop.”
With no assistance, he managed to track the metal down at a scrap yard, leading to the police finding the culprit, who was fined £25.
He added: “They got cameras to give you a parking ticket wherever you go but no one can see someone carrying a brass till out of a shop.
“There’s no CCTV down the market at all.”
Police were called the next day (March 30), with officers making a “number of enquiries” which have led to no arrests so far.
Original 1920s interiors
Generations of east Londoners and tourists have travelled down the market for a plate of L Manze’s traditional fare.
As news of the burglary spread online, it sparked widespread outrage from those with fond memories of the historical shop.
Wenna Blewett said she was disappointed to see it go as she has lived in Walthamstow all her life.
She said: “Manze's has always been loved and respected. For this to happen just shows me how much the area has changed, and how little respect people have any more.
“Manze's is not only well respected in Walthamstow, but is known to people everywhere, it’s such a shame this happened.
“I would ask that if anyone knows anything, or thinks they may have seen the missing till to please call the police.”
Amanda Wheate hopes more can be done to protect shops of such cultural value.
L Manze: A pie and mash destination
She added: “I would love to see the community rally to get it back.”
Back in 2013, English Heritage praised the shop for its “increasingly rare” and "exceptionally complete interior".
In October the same year, the then culture minister Ed Vaizey gave it extra protection by awarding it a Grade II listing.
Anyone with information about the burglary or the whereabouts of the till should contact police on 101 or @MetCC.
Information can also be reported anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.